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Making it Easy to Provide Timely, Accurate, and Actionable Intelligence

Jeff Hildebrandt

After decades of global armed conflict to eradicate terrorism, the modern battlefield has proven to be complex and extremely unpredictable. As a result, the demand placed on analysts to rapidly exploit intelligence data to generate accurate intelligence reports is at an all-time high. According to the DoD’s Joint Publication 2-0 (JP 2-0, Joint Intelligence), “Joint Force Commanders (JFCs) require and expect timely intelligence estimates that accurately identify adversary intentions, support offensive and/or defensive operations, and predict adversary future courses of action (COAs) in sufficient details as to be actionable.”

Time (speed), accuracy, and actionable intelligence win wars. The ability to generate timely intelligence reports ensures joint forces are always ahead of the adversary. Accurate intelligence not only protects friendly forces, it also ensures adherence to strict guidelines to the laws of war. And finally, the ability to generate actionable intelligence increases kinetic and non-kinetic operational success. “The success of joint and multinational operations and interorganizational coordination hinges upon timely and accurate information and intelligence sharing,” (JP 2-0).

For GEOINT professionals, the ability to rapidly exploit geospatial data – commercial, airborne, and national – to extract accurate and actionable intelligence is an important precondition for success throughout all phases of joint operations, regardless of how battles evolve. Data collection is no longer a major challenge for GEOINT with the abundance of collection platforms such as drones, aircrafts, and satellites.

The real hurdle is being able to choose the right datasets for a particular mission and rapidly exploit them to generate timely, accurate, and actionable intelligence. Executed properly, GEOINT analysis enhances “All Source” intelligence activities, enables all phases of mission planning, and supports time-sensitive decisions and actions.

Fortunately, solutions exist to empower analysts to better support their JFCs during operations. For years, L3Harris Geospatial has created techniques and algorithms that make ENVI® an Electronic Light Table (ELT) that is very analyst-friendly and contains many easy-to-use tools. Tim Mack, an L3Harris Geospatial Technical Account Manager and retired U.S. Army GEOINT Chief Warrant Officer III, noted, “ENVI is becoming the toolkit of choice for many users. Users don’t need advanced training and education in remote sensing or big data science to use ENVI.”

ENVI allows GEOINT analysts to spend more time conducting analysis rather than trying to understand the data. Additionally, users can define and automate many of the tasks in their workflows using ENVI Modeler. The simplified, yet robust, ELT capability living in ENVI empower even the most junior GEOINT analysts to provide timely, accurate, and actionable intelligence to their JFCs.

As an ELT, ENVI can read a wide variety of raw and processed datasets from commercial, airborne, and national collection platforms. Equally important, GEOINT analysts can use ENVI to easily exploit and analyze all these datasets with just a few mouse clicks. Some of the most commonly used ELT functionality in ENVI includes:

  • Feature extraction with the ability to convert to data formats that support the Common Operating Picture (COP) and Common Intelligence Picture (CIP) DCGS-A platforms
  • Layer stack data for change quick comparison, change detection, and further processing
  • Exportable snail-trail that can be passed on to the next shift to prevent interruptions or delays in the production workflows
  • Multiple linkable views (MADD) with side-by-side multi-views enabling quick and easy comparison and change detection
  • Pan, Roam, Rotate, and Zoom
  • Advanced mensuration
  • Feature identification, characterization, and counting
  • Image Magnifier and Portal View
  • Stretch Tool to reveal properties and features that are otherwise invisible to the human eye
  • OGC services compliant
  • Standard and Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF)

If you have complex datasets such as SAR or multispectral and hyperspectral, ENVI can help! With ENVI, GEOINT analysts can manipulate, isolate, and exploit the right bands to reveal useful spectral signatures and information. This includes identifying and categorizing the adversary’s compositions, dispositions, and movements; determining the enemy’s most likely and most dangerous (ML/MD) courses of action; identifying built up areas and key terrain; detecting changes to support patterns of life and indications and warning (I&W) analysis; and much more.

ENVI provides GEOINT analysts easy-to-use tools in a single analyst-friendly interface. Using a single interface to support various phases of exploitation during operations saves time. Moreover, it helps GEOINT analysts keep their work organized, which minimizes errors that could have catastrophic results.

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